I absolutely love the concept of single dad, Leland Dieno’s blog, No Deadbeat Society, and his new children’s book designed to help kids realize that even though Dad isn’t living at home anymore, he is still Dad and his love will never change. Here is Dieno’s story, along with some great words of advice for single dads and their kids.
By Leland Dieno
I started No Deadbeat Society in 2015 a few years after becoming a single father. The primary reason I started it was that I realized that my entire perception of what being a man was completely changed after entering fatherhood. I made poor decisions as a youth that were primarily focused around myself, self centered even… I idolized and thought highly of people who weren’t making great choices themselves and realized that the best people in my life were those closest to me, and those who loved me unconditionally. There were so many qualities in the men and women closest to me that I wasn’t even acknowledging or growing from, it became evident who I was becoming was who I was supposed to be after I became a father.
Being good natured does not equal weakness. Loving unconditionally and pushing yourself to do the right thing whenever possible does not mean that you aren’t masculine. I feel more masculine than ever. I feel stronger than ever, and more of a man than ever. Being a good father helped me realize that. Leaning in, seeking counselling, relying on those around me who had my best interest at heart was what helped me get to where I am today. And, I still have a long road ahead of me just as we all do in every aspect of life.
Since starting NDBS I have been able to have lengthy conversations with all types of fathers: Married, single, in custody battles, primary guardians, peacefully sharing custody, etc.. The list goes on and on. I’ve met some incredible men, who like me, realized after become fathers that it was time to start focusing on both their physical and mental well being.
Midst all of those conversations though were the heartbroken, single fathers who weren’t seeing their children as much as they hoped or who felt that the system had failed them. Some were failed, I can’t speak on the system and I won’t take this opportunity to talk about any types of reform… but what I will talk about are those few men who aren’t in their children’s lives as much as they should be, because of one thing. A stupid reaction. A juvenile and costly one. At some point in their relationship with their children’s mother they lost their cool. They did something that can’t be justified and should not be justified. Whether it was an act of violence or some sort of verbal abuse they self admittedly got themselves in heaps of trouble and the repercussions became their nightmare. I will not justify their actions, nor will I condone them in any way. Children should not be around any form of abuse in any way and the system absolutely needs to protect them from that. If it accomplishes anything at all, tha should be it.
What I’ve learned is that most men who have made these mistakes know that they did and they admit that they wish they could go back in time and correct it. Deal with their anger, maybe seek help before the separation, and deal with the issues they held onto that made them act the way they did. I was once at a conference and one of Vancouver’s top divorce lawyers (a woman) who primarily represents men, said the only advice she can give men is “to be the dad they seem to want to be after divorce, before the divorce”. What she meant by this was be that ALL IN father as soon as your children are born. Don’t selfishly prioritize things over your family, especially not your children. If you only see your kids 1 day a week while you live with them what do you expect is going to happen post divorce? Magically you will have them every day? It can’t work like that.
One of the biggest issues I’ve found is men have trouble dealing with emotions. Especially when it comes to expressing their unconditional love. There are probably a ton of psychological reasons for it; the way we were raised, our fathers relationships with us as children, etc… But either way in 2017 it is an issue for men.
Thinking about that, I decided to write my first children’s book titled “I’ll Never Leave”. It is a coloring and activity book specifically for designed for single fathers to help them articulate that just because they may not be there every day, that they still love their children unconditionally. My hopes are that this may just trigger one single dad to start leaning on their own feelings and compassion and start exploring how pulling from those emotions might better their lives.
Leland Dieno is a single father from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. He is a digital marketing professional by trade and is passionate about both fatherhood and advocating for men’s mental health. He founded No Deadbeat Society in 2015 which now has connected with over 35,000 fathers from all over the world across several different digital platforms. Learn more: www.nodeadbeatsociety.com. Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Ill-Never-Leave-Leland-Dieno/dp/1977718256/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1508722326&sr=8-2&keywords=I%27ll+never+leave